There’s something I don’t understand about some J-dramas. For most, they will run the series and then, if it was popular, a special a year or two later. But for some that I’ve seen recently, specifically Higanbana and this one, they ran the specials first, and then, years later, we got a series out of it, with the entire cast returning. Either there’s a part in their contracts that they have to come back, or that’s some dedication among the producers. Either way, here’s my look at the original special that brought us Virtual Detective Tabito Higurashi.Detectives Tabito Higurashi and Masahiko Yukiji solve crimes, using Tabito’s “disability” as their secret weapon. Due to an accident years earlier, Tabito lost all of his senses except his eyesight, which has been greatly enhanced, to the point that he can see emotions. But if he uses it too much, he might go blind, plunging him into a world without any sensations at all. Then his daughter is kidnapped and Higurashi must use everything he has to find her.
Now I’ve already gone into the cast on this one so I won’t do it again. This was based on the novel “Tantei Higurashi Tabito no Sagashimono” by Kozaburo Yamaguchi, published on September 25, 2010 by ASCII Media Works. I ended up seeing this after I had already seen the series, in fact, I didn’t know that this even existed until after I had seen the series, I just noticed that Masahiko’s hair had changed dramatically in a lot of the pictures, and therefore I found the special.
Overall, it’s a great show, everyone does a great job, even Moeno Sumida, who plays Tabito’s 6-year old adoptive daughter Tei, which is surprising because child actors are always hit and miss. My only issues, and this is something I noted in the series as well, is that while Tabito is supposed to have no other senses but sight, no sense of touch, no hearing, no smell, no taste, he often reacts as though he does. He’ll react to sounds that he couldn’t possibly have seen. Someone will touch him and he’ll react. I know it’s hard to act like you have no senses, but they still had issues. I mean, in the real world, people with the rare condition anhidrosis, who cannot feel pain, will routinely hurt themselves because they don’t know they are doing it. It might have been interesting to see Tabito burn himself or have him bandaged with the explanation that he has no way of knowing he’s doing himself harm. You just don’t get that feedback if you cannot feel anything.
But that aside, it’s a great series, one that I recommend to anyone who likes the oddball detective stories that Japan is good at turning out. I don’t think it really matters what order you watch these in, series first then special or special first then series. I don’t think I missed anything by seeing them in “reverse” order, you just get to see the characters meet for the first time in the special, but they explain things well in the series so you never really miss it. Go watch these, you won’t regret it.